You have to hand it to Bruno Dumont, France’s dark prince of dour auteurism: He never makes the same film twice, even when he does, to all intents and purposes, make the same film twice. Two years ago, he offered his own singular contribution to cinema’s well-stocked canon of Joan of Arc dramas: As a […]
variety.com | 5/19/19
This weekend, a European phenomenon is back — though Americans may have to hunt for clips on YouTube or seek out a VPN and watch via another country’s home broadcaster.
The Eurovision Song Contest, a cross between “The X Factor” and the Miss Universe pageant that offers Yanks a glimpse of what it’s like to be in a culture that doesn’t have jazz and blues as the foundation of its pop music.
For those who’ve never seen — or even heard of Eurovision — before, here’s a quick primer to get you caught up.
What exactly is this contest?
That sounds like a pretty noble goal.
Then there are the artists themselves. As Eurovision has evolved, more and more ridiculous acts have come out of the woodwork. Finnish monster-rock bands, Russian grandmas and Latvian pirates are among the acts that have performed for a TV audience of hundreds of millions in recent Eurovisions. And that Finnish monster rock band actually won.
Jeez! So is this just some musical freak show?
There’s also a small handful of top stars on the winners’ list you might recognize. ABBA used Eurovision as a launch pad to stardom in 1974 with their song “Waterloo,” and French-Canadian Celine Dion’s win in 1988 was her biggest claim to fame before “Titanic” came out. Quality — or at least creativity — does tend to win out at Eurovision.
OK, so how does this contest work?
Then the show transitions to a long procession of national “ambassadors” reading out who each country gave their votes to. The top 10 performers in each country’s vote get points, with 12 points going to the top vote-getter, followed by 10 and then eight down to one for the rest of the order. The same goes with the juries, but with 10 points going to the performer in first place.
And what does the performer with the most points win?
What? No prize money? No contract? No vague promises of superstardom?
Even now, a good chunk of the acts are homogenous power ballads that can blur together when performed in succession. Still, Eurovision is worth watching just for the spectacle of it all. The Disneyland-esque sweetness of the proceedings is charming, and the lack of stakes for the performers keeps it feeling light and fun rather than a battle for wealth, glory, and continental supremacy.
It has also made headlines in recent years that have allowed it to take steps beyond the realm of annual oddities like the Running of the Bulls. The winner in 2014 was gay Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth, who performed as drag queen superstar Conchita Wurst. The victory transformed Conchita into an LGBT icon in Europe, even as Russian conservatives raged in fury and used the singer as an example of why Russia shouldn’t be a part of the EU. For all of Eurovision’s platitudes about tolerance and peace, this was a moment where those ideals were actually acted upon, even if it meant breaking the general tone of inoffensiveness.
If it’s supposed to be European, why is Australia a competitor?
So…if all these countries that aren’t strictly European are competing, does this mean we may be seeing the USA compete in Eurovision soon?
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www.thewrap.com | 5/18/19
Art imitates life in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” which screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday evening. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the iconic Spanish director reimagines life — his life — as a fantasia borne out of the cinematic vocabulary he’s created over the last four decades.
“Pain and Glory” suggests that Almodóvar’s films were based on the preoccupations that developed when he was a child, but then refracts the life that formed his art through the style of that art. If there’s a house-of-mirrors aspect to this, the trickiness is one of the least important aspects of this lovely, gentle reverie, which has already opened to largely positive reception in Spain.
Antonio Banderas plays a film director named Salvador Mallo, who happens to dress like Almodóvar and live in a house that looks just like Almodóvar’s house. He also has a little bit of Almodóvar’s trademark spiky hair, though it’s not as white or as poofy.
Banderas, who began his career in the early 1980s in a film by Almodóvar and has now appeared in eight of the director’s movies, told TheWrap that at times he found it difficult to wrap his head around what his old friend asked him to do in “Pain and Glory.”
“It’s very complicated,” Banderas said. “Even if he said, ‘It’s not me, it’s my alter ego’ — OK, but it’s in you. It’s not self-biography, but it’s self-fiction.”
Banderas said he never did an imitation, instead drawing from things about Almodóvar that he knew as a friend, notably the writer-director’s solitude. And Salvador Mallo is indeed a solitary figure – a man we first see submerged in a swimming pool, and a man lost in the pain that wracks his body and in the memories that flow through him.
Those memories, the subject of numerous flashbacks, include growing up Catholic with a strong mother (played by Penélope Cruz) and fainting at his sudden sexual awakening when the young Salvador (Asier Flores) sees a workman bathing nude. You can look at them as a CliffsNotes version of what formed Almodóvar — sorry, Mallo — as a director, but they are more essential than that.
Back in the present day, Mallo seeks out an actor, Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia), with whom he had a falling out 32 years earlier — he wrote a role for a character he envisioned as a cocaine addict, the actor played him as a heroin addict instead and only now, on the eve of a cinematheque restoration of the film, does Mallo appreciate the performance. The reconnection leads to a theater piece written by Mallo and performed by Crespo, and also to Mallo’s flirtation with smoking heroin, still a regular ritual for Crespo.
The performance also leads to a reunion between Mallo and Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia), old lovers who share the tenderest reconciliation in a film built around a series of reconciliations.
Almodóvar has called “Pain and Glory” the third part of a trilogy that also includes 1987’s “Law of Desire” and 2004’s “Bad Education,” but devotees of the director’s work can find call-outs to much of the director’s filmography. And as always, the film’s look is impeccable; Almodóvar’s fascination with scarlet continues, but he finds a way to make even a doctor’s waiting room look vibrant and alive.
But you wouldn’t use those words to describe the main character. Banderas’ Mallo is weary and subdued, a man looking for peace and too tired to fight. It might be the quietest performance the actor has ever given, and quite possibly the most affecting; as a lion in winter, he makes every sigh matter.
And “Pain and Glory” is, clearly, a film of sighs. Just as the character seeks physical and mental healing, the film is one of the most meditative of Almodóvar’s career. He may have made his reputation with a string of transgressive, jarring and provocative films that helped upend Spanish cinema in the 1980s and ’90s, but with this film passion has given way to mature introspection.
It makes for less energetic and, yes, less exciting filmmaking. But “Pain and Glory” is a beautiful meditation on past and present, a memory piece that will nourish rather than provoke.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/17/19
Little out of the ordinary goes down in “The Climb.” Friends bicker and bond, families meet for the holidays, couples join together and come apart – the wheels of life keeps spinning.
So the fact that director Michael Angelo Covino is able to wring as much genuine surprise from such seemingly unexceptional raw material is a real testament to creative spark he brings to this project — and is one of the many reasons why this film, which premiered on Friday in the Un Certain Regard sidebar, is one of the standout titles of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Covino brought a short of the same to Sundance in 2018; he remakes that short here, where it serves as the first volley in a film that tracks the evolving relationship between two lifelong frenemies across seven unique chapters.
As it happens, Chapter 1 kicks off not too far from Cannes. In an unbroken nearly 10-minute take, we follow athletic Mike (Covino himself) and doughy Kyle (co-writer Kyle Marvin) on a South of France bike trip ahead of the latter’s upcoming marriage. Right as they hit a particularly steep incline, Mike drops a bomb: He too has been sleeping with Kyle’s fiancée – now, pudgy, try to catch up!
Both Kyle and consequence eventually do, and the dynamic between them evolves three times before the scene ever lets up. When the film finally offers its first hard cut, it does so in service of a joke – using the cut from one sequence to the next as a long built-towards setup/punchline.
Within that first chapter are nearly all of the elements that make “The Climb” such an unexpected gem. Some of those have been quite common in recent film and television, like the cringe comedy emanating from a painfully real dynamic and the two performers game for embarrassment. That’s not to diminish what Covino brings as an actor; I only mean to say that style has been the bread and butter of American comedy for the past decade or more.
What American comedy has not seen, on the other hand, is all that Covino brings as director.
And that’s an awful lot. He shows truly impressive formal control, incorporating sophisticated camerawork and tightly coiled edits while allowing time, space and rhythm – in short, the foundations of cinema – to play as equal participants in the comedy.
In a wonderful conceit, the film jumps forward in time with each new chapter, making us work to understand where we are in the plot, and, more importantly, where the two leads are in their relationship with one another. So in deference to the pleasure of discovering the plot as the film parcels it out, I will not reveal exactly where we pick in Chapter 2.
Suffice it to say that as “The Climb” goes on it introduces new characters into the mix, including Kyle’s parents (played by Talia Balsam and George Wendt) and his second fiancée, Marissa (Gayle Rankin), who is given ample time to shine.
American comedy has often had a hard time getting a foothold in the high temple of cinema that is Cannes, so I suspect that festival programmers warmed to this film for the many (wholly refreshing) ways it feels out of step with this moment in time. At a point when the line between media has blurred and the conversation has turned to ‘multi-platform content’, here is odd little throwback that apes the textures of celluloid and moves with the rhythms of cinema.
Here is a real film — and a damn good one, at that.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/17/19
After Cannes’ opening night film “The Dead Don’t Die” got the festival off to a somewhat slow start with mixed reviews, Wednesday’s two debuts, “Les Misérables” and “Bacurau,” proved that this year’s lineup will have some life in it.
Ladj Ly’s “Les Misérables” isn’t based on Victor Hugo’s classic story, but it’s set in the same region in France and has the spirit of the original. Ly (picture above) originally directed an acclaimed short in 2017 of the same name that set the stage for this larger feature focused on police brutality and crime. The Guardian critic said Ly’s feature debut had a dose of “humor, cynicism, energy and savvy” and was worthy of some comparisons to previous Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard’s “Dheepan.”
Another reviewer even predicted we might already have a prize winner on our hands. “‘Les Miserables,’ Cannes’s first prize-worthy film of this still young-edition,” Screen Comment said in a tweet. “Edge-of-your-seat realism that echoes the 2005 riots in France, this film is winning #Cannes19.”
The industry took notice as well, with Anne Thompson reporting that Ly was already signed by CAA and that his film has become a hot title on the market.
The same could be said about “Bacurau,” a Brazilian film from the directors of “Aquarius.” David Ehrlich at IndieWire called it a “delirious Western” that amazingly features Udo Kier “fighting ghosts with a sniper.” He added that it is part “Hostel” and part “Seven Samurai.”John Carpenter takes a bow
Cult horror master John Carpenter, the director of “The Thing” and “Halloween,” among many others, graciously accepted the Golden Coach award from the French directors guild at the festival’s opening ceremony as part of the Director’s Fortnight. According to Reuters, Carpenter said he had been fascinated by cinema since he saw “The African Queen” at age three.
“It’s that transportation of an audience through the world of light and the shadows around it that I’m proud to be a part of,” he said.
Film Twitter also had fun spotting him with other horror luminaries like Dario Argento, and his presence felt even more significant in part because some critics felt “Bacurau” gave off vibes of early Carpenter classics.A surprise from Todd Haynes
There’s always a handful of films each year that make their way to the festival marketplace under the radar, and this year’s biggest title was the documentary on the Velvet Underground from director Todd Haynes. THR reported that footage from the movie would screen Thursday at the Cinema Olympia and would be presented to buyers by Cinetic and Submarine.
First reported in January, the documentary would be Haynes’ first, but the musically inclined director behind “I’m Not There” and “Velvet Goldmine” is in good standing to handle the story of Lou Reed and one of the most influential rock bands of all time.“Moonfall” has a Big Landing
Roland Emmerich’s $150 million sci-fi space epic “Moonfall” sold for a reported low-eight figures in both Germany and Switzerland, according to Deadline. An unnamed German indie conglomerate that handles distributors TMG and Universum purchased the film, which Emmerich is writing and directing, and Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios and CAA Media Finance are handling worldwide sales.
“Moonfall” tells the story of a ragtag team of astronauts who are forced to land on the moon’s surface when the moon is knocked out of Earth’s orbit, sending it hurtling on a collision course with Earth and threatening all of mankind.
Among some of the other buzzy deals taking place on Wednesday and overnight, SP Media Group acquired a majority stake in Atlas Comics library, and Paramount has come aboard for a first look deal, according to Deadline. Atlas company is run by Jason Goodman, the grandson of Marvel Comics co-founder and publisher Martin Goodman. And a project is already set to be produced with an eye on a 2021 release.
“Avatar” star Sam Worthington has joined the Australian thriller “Gold,” which Anthony Hayes will co-write, direct and co-star in. Saboteur Media has come aboard the film to handle sales at Cannes, according to THR.
A Michael Caine movie has also hit the market at Cannes, this one called “Best Sellers,” which stars Caine as a washed-up, alcoholic of an author who goes out on a book tour with a young editor in order to help save a publishing house, according to THR. Anthony Grieco wrote the original screenplay, and Foresight Unlimited is handling international sales.
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” star Noomi Rapace is set to star in an action movie from Vicky Jewson called “Sylvia” in which she’ll star as a Mossad agent, according to Variety. WestEnd is handling sales at Cannes.
And finally, Epic Pictures acquired the U.S. rights to the horror comedy “Harpoon” from director Rob Grant, according to Variety. The film stars Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra and Christopher Gray in a black comedy about three friends who get stranded out at sea on a yacht.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/16/19
The 2019 Cannes Film Festival is underway, but a big question on some attendees’ minds might not be about a movie at all, but a TV series. That’s because many festival-goers are probably scrambling to figure out, “How in the name of Westeros can I watch the series finale of ‘Game of Thrones’ on Sunday?”
Since HBO NOW and HBO GO are not accessible for U.S. subscribers while in France, TheWrap has figured out how “Game of Thrones” fans can watch the final showdown in real time without having to learn who ends up on the Iron Throne through social media.
And don’t worry, it won’t take a prayer to the Old Gods and the New. But it will take either an HBO Europe subscription or having the right hotel room — or a friend in the right hotel room — because a Cannes attendee can view the series finale at the same time it airs in the U.S. via the French provider OCS (Orange Cinema Series).
So what you’ll need to do is check around to see if your hotel — or your friends’ hotels — is an Orange subscriber. If it is, then you can tune in to watch the episode on OCS City at 3 a.m. local time on Monday. There will also be a primetime airing at 9 p.m. local time, later that day.
If you happen to be an Orange subscriber yourself, then you can also stream the episode on demand after it concludes its linear debut.
The complete final season of “Game of Thrones” will also be available to purchase via digital download in France on Tuesday at midnight (overnight Monday) on iTunes, Orange, Canal+, Microsoft, Sony and Google.
If you are subscribed to UK Sky Go and Now TV (a subscription-based internet television and video-on-demand service that is a division of Sky Limited), you can watch the finale on your devices in any country in the EU.
In Germany’s official guide from Sky, for example, it says Episode 806 will be shown locally at 3 a.m. (GMT+2) on Sky Atlantic, which is the same time it airs on HBO in the U.S. (9 p.m. ET). That means you’ll be able to access the episode via Sky Go and Now TV at that time. Sky will then air the series finale again on Monday at 8:15 p.m. local time.
If you don’t have a subscription to either of those services, but do subscribe to HBO Go or HBO NOW there is a way to connect to those platforms using a VPN.
A VPN is a virtual private network that builds a secure tunnel between your device and the internet that allows you to mask your location. This way, you can “trick” the platforms into thinking you are still in the U.S. (for HBO) or in the U.K. (for Sky). It’s extremely safe and most VPNs provide a high-quality streaming experience.
HBO tells TheWrap it is unaware of any planned finale viewing parties at Cannes. A spokesperson for the festival said all official screenings can be found in the Cannes program.
Of course, if this is all too much work for you: Fly home early, delete your Twitter app, or pray no one you talk to at Cannes reveals spoilers and wait until you’re back in the United States to watch the HBO fantasy series’ epic ending.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/15/19
The premiere of “The Dead Don’t Die” kick-started the 12-day celebration of international cinema in southern France.
www.nytimes.com | 5/15/19
Bienvenue au paradis du cinéma! The 72nd Cannes Film Festival kicks off this week down in the South of France, and I'm back here again for my 10th time. This year is just as exciting as every other, and I am so happy to be back. Every May cinephiles from all over the world pack up their bags and make the trek down to the Cote d'Azur for two weeks of cinema heaven, basking in the Mediterranean sun while watching films made by some of the best filmmakers and storytellers out there. It's exciting to be here in Cannes because it's a fantastic time to catch up with old friends, make new friends, watch new films, discuss & discover old films, and enjoy all the splendors of international cinema. I've been writing about Cannes for years, telling so many different stories, and I always hope to encourage more people to join in on the fun and make it over to ...
www.firstshowing.net | 5/14/19
Many of the Christian artifacts in the cathedral have been saved, said France’s culture minister. But there are grave concerns about art and its acclaimed organ.
www.nytimes.com | 4/16/19
“Barry,” “Hannah Gadsby: Nanette” and “The Good Place” lead the nominees for this year’s Peabody Awards, which recognizes the best of digital and broadcast media for the year. The three programs were among a crowded field of contenders in the entertainment category.
“It is our great honor to recognize the most powerful and compelling, but also most brilliant and creative programming of 2018,” Jeffrey P. Jones, executive director of Peabody said in a press statement. “Across genres and platforms, these are stories that help us make sense of our world, and locate our humanity in the joys and tragedies and struggles of people worldwide.”
The 78th annual awards ceremony nominees also honored other achievements in the categories of “children’s and youth,” “documentaries,” “public service,” “news,” “web,” and “radio/podcast.” The nominees were selected by unanimous vote of 19 jurors from more than 1,200 entries from television, radio/podcasts and the web in entertainment, news, documentary, children’s and public service programming. Thirty winners selected from amongst these nominees will be announced beginning next week.
The ceremony will take place on May 18 in New York City at Cipriani Wall Street, and will be hosted by New Yorker contributing writer Ronan Farrow.
You can see the full list of Peabody nominees below.
CHILDREN’S & YOUTH
“Hilda” Silvergate Media for Netflix (Netflix)
“Steven Universe” Cartoon Network Studios (Cartoon Network)
“A Dangerous Son” HBO Documentary Films and Moxie Firecracker Films (HBO)
“Blue Planet II” BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit, co-produced with BBC AMERICA, Tencent, WDR, France Télévisions and CCTV9 in partnership with The Open University (BBC AMERICA)
“Brides & Brothels: The Rohingya Trade” 101 East (Al Jazeera English)
“I Am Evidence” HBO Documentary Films and Mighty Entertainment in association with Fixit Productions and Artemis Rising Foundation (HBO)
“Independent Lens: Dolores” A Carlos Santana Production, in association with 5 Stick Films, and THE DOLORES HUERTA FILM PROJECT, LLC (PBS)
“Independent Lens: I Am Not Your Negro” A co-production of Velvet Film Inc., Velvet Film S.A.S., Artémis Productions, Close Up Films, ARTE France, RTS, RTBF, Shelter Prod and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) presented in association with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) (PBS)
“Independent Lens: The Judge” A co-production of Three Judges LLC, Idle Wild Films Inc., and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) (PBS)
“Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart” Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project, LLC in co-production with Independent Television Service and Black Public Media in association with The Film Posse, Chiz Schultz Inc. and American Masters Pictures (PBS/WNET/TV)
“Minding the Gap” Hulu presents in association with Kartemquin, American Documentary | POV and ITVS (Hulu)
“POV: QUEST: A Portrait of an American Family” Quest Fury Sound LLC, Vespertine Film and Media Productions Inc., American Documentary | POV, ITVS (PBS)
“POV: The Apology” National Film Board of Canada, American Documentary | POV (PBS)
“POV: Survivors” WeOwnTV, American Documentary | POV, ITVS (PBS)
“POV: Whose Streets?” Whose Streets? LLC, American Documentary | POV (PBS)
“Shirkers” A Netflix Documentary in association with Cinereach (Netflix)
“The Bleeding Edge” A Netflix Original Documentary in association with Shark Island Institute (Netflix)
“The Facebook Dilemma” FRONTLINE (PBS)
“The Jazz Ambassadors” Thirteen Productions LLC, Antelope South Ltd., Normal Life Pictures, in association with the BBC and ZDF in collaboration with Arte (PBS)
“The Rape of Recy Taylor” Augusta Films, in co-production with Transform Films Inc., in association with Artemis Rising and Matador Content (Starz)
“Atypical” Sony Pictures Television for Netflix (Netflix)
“Barry” HBO Entertainment in association with Alec Berg and Hanarply (HBO)
“Hannah Gadsby: Nanette” Netflix (Netflix)
“Homecoming,” Universal Content Productions and Amazon Studios (Amazon Prime Video)
“Killing Eve” Sid Gentle Films Ltd. for BBC AMERICA (BBC AMERICA)
“My Brilliant Friend” HBO Entertainment in association with RAI FICTION, TIMVISION and Wildside, Fandango, and Umedia (HBO)
“Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” Netflix (Netflix)
“Pose” Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions (FX Networks)
“Random Acts of Flyness” HBO Entertainment in association with A24 and MVMT (HBO)
“The Americans” Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions (FX Networks)
“The Chi” SHOWTIME Presents, Fox 21 Television Studios, Kapital Entertainment, Verse, Freedom Road Productions, Hillman Grad Productions, Elwood Reid Inc. (Showtime)
“The End of the F***ing World” Clerkenwell Films/Dominic Buchanan Productions for Channel 4 Television and Netflix (Netflix)
“The Good Place” Universal Television, Fremulon and 3 Arts Entertainment (NBC)
“This Close” Killer Films and Super Deluxe (SundanceNow)
“Anatomy of a Killing” BBC Africa Eye (BBC)
“Aquí y Ahora: The Faces of the Immigration Crisis ” Univision Network (Univision Network)
“CBS News Special: 39 Days” CBS News (CBS)
“Back of the Class” KING Television NBC affiliate/KING
“Cambridge Analytica” ITN for Channel 4 News (Channel 4 News)
“Inside Yemen” PBS NewsHour (PBS)
“NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Toxic School Water” WTVF-TV (WTVF-TV)
“Nima Elbagir: Human Rights Reporting” CNN (CNN)
“On the Fire Line” PBS NewsHour (PBS)
“Separated: Children at the Border” FRONTLINE (PBS)
“Spartan Silence” E:60, OTL, ESPNW, Sportscenter (ESPN)
“The Plastic Problem” PBS NewsHour (PBS)
“$2 Tests: Bad Arrests” WAGA-TV FOX 5 Atlanta (WAGA-TV)
“Student/Trafficked” R.AGE (Star Media Group)
“Zero Tolerance” ProPublica
“Bag Man” MSNBC (MSNBC)
“Believed” Michigan Radio (NPR)
“Buried Truths” WABE (WABE)
“Caliphate” The New York Times (The New York Times)
“Ear Hustle” PRX’s Radiotopia (PRX’s Radiotopia)
“In The Dark (season 2)” APM Reports (Podcast)
“Kept Out” Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, PRX, PBS Newshour, and the Associated Press (Public radio stations nationwide)
“Monumental Lies” Type Investigations and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX (Public radio stations nationwide)
“My World Was Burning: The North Bay Fires and What Went Wrong” KQED and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX (Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX)
“This American Life Episode #657: The Runaways” This American Life and ProPublica Inc. (Public Radio Stations, podcast)
“The Daily” The New York Times (The New York Times)
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www.thewrap.com | 4/9/19
Snap Inc. is doubling down on original content, unveiling a new slate of scripted and unscripted shows on Thursday morning — including a new daily afternoon news series from BuzzFeed — as the Snapchat parent company looks to continue its rebound from a tumultuous 2018.
The still-untitled BuzzFeed news program is set to launch later this spring and will be hosted by a rotating cast of the outlet’s personalities. The show, like all Snapchat shows, will be between three-to-five minutes long, shot vertically, and will join nine other new original series Snap is releasing this year.
Many of the series look especially geared towards Snapchat’s young user base; “Two Sides,” a scripted series from New Form that focuses on a young couple working through a breakup and “Commanders,” a scripted show on high school outcasts that discover a life-altering computer code. “Sneakerheads,” another scripted series that follows three college freshman navigating the quirky world of Los Angeles sneaker culture. All three shows will be out by June.
Snap chief Evan Spiegel, who has mentioned a desire on past quarterly earnings calls to attract older users, championed the app’s popularity among teenagers and millennials while speaking at the company’s Partner Summit in West Hollywood on Thursday.
“Our Snapchat community has fearlessly embraced so many new forms of self-expression. In the United States, Snapchat now reaches nearly 75% of 13-34-year-olds and we reach 90% of 13-24-years-old,” Spiegel said. “In fact, we reach more 13-24-year-olds than Facebook or Instagram in the United States, the U.K., France, Canada and Australia.”
Since going public in early 2017, Snap has struggled to find its footing, as underwhelming user growth and a continued assault from Instagram, its chief competitor, has hampered the company’s stock. A series of high-level executives leaving the company in the last year, coupled with a poorly-received app redesign, only added to investor concerns. Snap closed its first day of trading at $24.48 per share in March 2017; it opened trading at $11.23 per share on Thursday.
But the Santa Monica-based company has seen its fortunes turn around, at least somewhat, in the last few months. The company’s stock has almost doubled since Christmas after Snap posted record sales during its Q4 earnings report. Snap also stopped losing users during Q4 after losing a combined 5 million daily users during the second and third quarters of 2018. It had 186 million users at the end of 2018.
Finding compelling content that keeps existing users engaged and attracts new users is a key piece to Snap’s strategy moving forward — and the company thinks it found a few winners already. Snap announced that it is bringing back three series — “Endless Summer,” “Deep Creek,” and “The Dead Girls Detective Agency” later this year. Sean Mills, Snap’s head of original content, said “Endless Summer” — the Bunim/Murray produced docuseries following Orange County social-media stars Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan — was a “hit series for” the company, “reaching over 28 million unique viewers” after being released last fall.
Other new shows coming from Snap this year include “While Black,” an unscripted docuseries looking at racial issues, and “Compton Dreams,” a docuseries looking at three up-and-coming hip-hop artists from Compton.
Snap unveiled its shows at the same time it introduced several new wrinkles — including a partnership bringing Stories, its trademark ephemeral feature, to Tinder. Snap users can now also use their Bitmoji on Venmo and Fitbit, the company said today.
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www.thewrap.com | 4/4/19
Many filmmakers have taught me how to look at the world, but Agnès Varda is teaching me how to age. She died this week at the age of 90, leaving behind an example we should all strive to meet as we get on in years.
One of the legendary filmmakers who made up the Nouvelle Vague, France’s influential cinematic New Wave of the 1960s, she continually embraced life and a changing world, even after losing her beloved husband and fellow New Wave icon, Jacques Demy, in 1990. In the years when one might have expected her to grow more home-bound, perhaps venturing forth to publish a memoir or pick up the occasional award, she instead continued to plunge into the ever-changing technology of cinema.
As a filmmaker, she constantly experimented with digital cameras and editing, never afraid to step into the arena of the young and always open to completely upending everything she had ever learned about production. But where her peer Jean-Luc Godard would perversely turn 3-D on its head in “Goodbye to Language,” Varda’s hand-held cameras allowed her to grow more intimate, with moving, witty, personal documentaries like the Oscar-nominated “Faces Places,” the autobiographical “The Beaches of Agnès” and the universally acclaimed “The Gleaners and I.”
“Faces Places,” a collaboration with photographer and artist JR, saw Varda returning to her roots as a photographer while also exploring her endless fascination with the technology of art (JR turns photos into images that cover the sides of barns and train cars) and with life itself — she engages with her subjects in a personal way that reflects her love of humanity, well into her eighties.
Varda’s understanding of the changing role of film technology also played a key role behind her work to preserve both her own films and those of her late husband.
If you own the Criterion Collection Jacques Demy box set — and you really should — you have Varda to thank for the crisp restorations and remasters of such classics as “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” “Lola,” “The Young Girls of Rochefort” and “Donkey Skin.”
Varda (left) at the 1962 Venice Film Festival with Corinne Marchand, star of Varda’s “Cleo 5 to 7.” (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
As the most well-known female figure of the Nouvelle Vague, Varda was of course a role model and inspiration to generations of women directors. Between Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino’s Hollywood efforts and Joan Micklin Silver’s indies of the 1970s, there was Varda, making influential features like “Cléo from 5 to 7” and “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t.”
And when Hollywood beckoned Demy to make “Model Shop,” the two settled in L.A. for several years, where she made the very 1969 feature “Lions Love (…and Lies)” — starring Warhol superstar Viva opposite Gerome Ragni and James Rado, the creators of “Hair” — and “Murs Murs,” a lovely documentary about Los Angeles murals.
Her fictional features show the same empathy that Varda would directly display in her documentaries. “Cléo” is about a singer waiting to get the results of a cancer biopsy, and while its heroine might appear at first to be a flibbertigibbet, Varda slowly peels back the layers and lets us know the frightened, three-dimensional woman within.
Her 1984 film “Vagabond” opens on a shot of a dead woman in a ditch and then explores other characters’ perspectives on who she was and how she wound up in such a state. The film never presumes to “explain” her; instead, Varda acknowledges that our true selves can never be fully understood if only examined through the viewpoint of others.
The same holds for Varda’s true self, then, but the Agnès Varda that her admirers have come to know through her work, and through her championing of her husband’s films (she also made “Jacquot de Nantes,” a lovely biography of his younger years), is someone with an endless curiosity about the world and understanding of the people in it. Her films unlock worlds that are new to us, and her determination to keep making them is a challenge to us to remain open to innovation and change on our own chosen paths.
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www.thewrap.com | 3/29/19
Romantic teen comedy-drama “Love, Simon,” Netflix’s reality show “Queer Eye” and Starz’s comedy series “Vida” took top honors at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards on Thursday night in Los Angeles.
“Love, Simon,” an LGBTQ themed high-school rom-com, took the prize for Outstanding Film Wide Release with Gwyneth Paltrow presenting the award to director Greg Berlanti and cast members Nick Robinson, Keiynan Lonsdale and Alexandra Schipp.
Outstanding Reality Program went to “Queer Eye,” Netflix’s reboot of the Bravo series, starring Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Bobby Berk and Karamo Brown.
“Vida,” about two Mexican-American sisters who return home to a rapidly gentrifying Boyle Heights — and find out their recently deceased mother was in a relationship with a woman — took home the award for Outstanding Comedy Series.
The 30th annual GLAAD ceremony also honored Beyoncé and Jay-Z with the Vanguard Award for their support of the LGBTQ community.
Jay-Z began their speech by thanking his mother, Gloria Carter, who is a lesbian and who accepted a special award on behalf of her son last year. The rapper said that it was because of his mother that he was able to learn about love and acceptance.
“Life is full of highs, lows, and a lot of learning,” Jay-Z told the audience. “This is a momentous night and I also want, because I didn’t do it last year, to honor my mother who received the award last year. I’m following in her footsteps of spreading love and acceptance.”
Beyonce then told the crowd she was “super honored and overwhelmed and I’m very proud of the run in my stocking from Shangela,” she said about the “Drag Race” alum who earlier in the evening performed a medley of her all her hit songs to a roaring audience. (See below).
“I would say that one of the most beautiful memories from our tour was looking out from the stage every night and seeing the hardest gangsters trappin’ out right next to the most fabulous queens, respecting and celebrating each other.”
Beyonce dedicated the award to her Uncle Johnny, who she called “the most fabulous gay man, who helped raise me and my sister.”
“He lived his truth,” she told the audience. “He was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country was not as accepting. Witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived.”
She continued: “I’m hopeful that his struggle served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQI rights are human rights. To choose who you love is your human right, how you identify and see yourself is your human right, who you make love to and take that ass to Red Lobster is your human right.”
“Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes was honored with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, named after the Los Angeles casting director who devoted his life to fighting homophobia. Both were announced ahead of time.
At the event, celebrities sported blue “&” pins for GLAAD’s Together movement, representing GLAAD’s work on intersectional issues including immigration, racial justice, women’s rights and LGBTQ acceptance.
GLAAD had also previously announced that Madonna will receive the Advocate for Change Award and Andy Cohen will receive the Vito Russo Award from Sarah Jessica Parker in the organizations’ New York City event on May 4, which will air on Logo on Sunday, May 12.
Read the complete winners list:
Outstanding Documentary: “Believer” (HBO)
Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series w/o a regular LGBTQ character): “Someplace Other Than Here,” “The Guest Book” (TBS)
Outstanding Kids & Family Programming: “Steven Universe” (Cartoon Network)
Outstanding Video Game: “The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset” (Bethesda Softworks)
Outstanding Comic Book: “Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles,” written by Mark Russell (DC Comics)
Outstanding Magazine Article: “Can a Transgender Woman Get Justice in Texas?” by Nate Blakeslee (Texas Monthly)
Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: Variety
Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine (Spanish-Language): “Entrevista con Luis Sandoval para National Coming Out Day” Despierta América (Univision)
Outstanding Digital Journalism (Spanish-Language): “Así pinta la televisión hispana a los personajes LGBTQ, una representación preocupante” por Daniel Shoer Roth (ElNuevoHerald.com)
Special Recognition: “Nanette” (Netflix)
Special Recognition: “TransMilitary” (Logo)
Special Recognition (Spanish-Language): “House of Mamis” (INTOmore.com)
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www.thewrap.com | 3/29/19
The refugee crisis can seem like an abstract, far-off issue. But “The Jungle,” which opened Sunday at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse after a run in London, drops us smack in the center of a camp of asylum-seekers — with all its slapdash infrastructure, clash of cultures and pulsing humanity.
The St. Ann’s theater space has been transformed by set designer Meriam Buether into the Afghan Cafe, where the audience sits in front of long, narrow tables on a dirt floor with wider platforms that serve as walkways for the actors to walk among us.
We are in a re-created version of the Jungle, an actual camp that emerged on a landfill site near Calais, France, for refugees seeking asylum in the U.K. just 22 miles away. We meet people from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan who manage to set aside their religious, cultural and histroic differences to create a kind of functioning city with a common purpose.
In due course, we also meet a group of British do-gooders who are initially viewed with skepticism. “You have destroyed my village three times in the last 200 years,” the Afghan restaurant owner Salar (Ben Turner) tells one of the Brits, whose number includes a naive selfie-stick-wielding Eton graduate (Alex Lawther, “The End of the F—ing World”) who describes the setting as “Glastonbury without the toilets.”
Before long, though, the interlopers become part of the community, helping to establish basic services like housing, sanitation and schooling for the increasing number of unaccompanied children in the camp.
But these outsiders have their own reasons for being there, sometimes just as flawed despite meaning well. “Everyone here is running away from something. We’re all refugees,” notes the banjo-playing drunkard Boxer (Trevor Fox), who is estranged from both his ex-wife and young daughter back in the U.K. but finds a sense of purpose in the camps.
“When does a place become a place?” asks Safi (Ammar Haj Ahmad), an English literature scholar from Aleppo who serves as one of our many narrators. Playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson address that question in a most vital way — aided by the sharp direction of Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin — by intermingling moments of conflict and horror with lighter moments of warmth, music and laughter.
Because despite their many differences, the refugees we meet share similar stories of deprivation and of hope that they might yet seek a better life in a far-off land. “A refugee dies many times,” a teenager from Darfur named Okot (John Pfumojena) says at one point as he recounts his remarkable and harrowing journey to a camp that French authorities seem bent on breaking up. (They did just that two years ago — though a video update late in the show informs us that 2,000 refugees, including 200 unaccompanied minors, are still seeking shelter outside Calais.)
“The Jungle” is that rarest of theatrical experiences. It makes us think, it makes us feel and it challenges us to find the human faces in the masses of images we see on newscasts.
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www.thewrap.com | 12/10/18
"How could such an important figure in the birth of cinema not be known?" Zeitgeist Films, in association with Kino Lorber, has released an official trailer for the documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Don't know who Alice Guy-Blaché is? That's what this film is all about! Alice Guy-Blaché was, as we now know, the very first female filmmaker. She started out making films in France in the 1890s, then moved to America and started her own production company with her husband. After making over 1000 films during her time, her career came to an end, she was sadly forgotten about, and most of her work was lost. Until recently. Be Natural is not only a doc about Guy-Blaché, but an investigation into what happened, how and why she disappeared from film history, and whether her work can be recovered and preserved now. Featuring narration by Jodie Foster. Take a ...
www.firstshowing.net | 12/5/18
Macron has declared the Internet to be under threat. Without stepping back to question and explore the underlying causes of those threats, he uses them as a justification to propose a different approach to, albeit limited, current Internet Governance processes. Here we explore his proposals and some of the issues they generate.
He acknowledges that Civil Society and the private sector have been core drivers in the creation of the Internet. He argues that its benefits and existence are endangered by predatory practices. He proposes that, in order to maintain the Internet and save it from itself, governments must assume leadership through the instrument of regulations.
Throughout the speech, Macron replaces key digital values with governance values:
Multilateralism, (a formal alliance of multiple countries pursuing a common goal), displaces multistakeholderism (the current joint management of core Internet resources by governments, business and the civil society in their respective roles), as the driving force and core model for Internet Governance.
The proposition of Net Neutrality is replaced by "universal values" as defined in a pre-digital age. Macron references the creation and validity of universal values for real-world governance, but without recognizing the historical fact of their conditionality depending on context. He then argues for freely transposing these values, and associated governmental mechanisms, onto the digital realm. In doing so, he fails to acknowledge that the nature of the Internet transcends the concepts of nation-states, and that policy making and governance require their own consultative dialogues to reach consensus on the values and governance mechanisms necessary to enable the dignity and integrity of the global digital citizens.
As justification for his approach, Macon forwards two main arguments:
a) Protection through regulation is a government's core activity. If denied this role, governments are unable to protect their citizens and this lessons their reason to exist. He completely overlooks that the first task of government is to empower its citizens, to ensure their integrity and dignity in jointly designed policies, including their protection. It is the role of government to enshrine the rights and duties of citizenship, and then do everything necessary to protect that citizenship. Protection is about empowerment of personal dignity and integrity and not just protection from perceived threats. Protection without something that is worth protecting is meaningless. Does Macron want to engage in cyber war through regulations? Does it make sense to go to war for the very thing that undermines what we try to protect: the dignity and integrity of digital citizenship?
b) The challenge is regulation that "safeguards the vision of the founding fathers." What happened to the founding mothers? Women played key roles in the early development of the Internet, but the choice of language seems to leave them victims to a chauvinism that devalues the role of women and women's minds in technological change. As a façade of democracy, civil and private sector roles as whistle-blowers and implementation partners are proposed. His speech is an example of political "backward engineering." What he wants is power over the Internet. To gain this power, he needs to introduce regulations and taxes. In order to justify them, he must present them as measures that save an Internet that is under threat from itself. In order to realize his ambition, he declares existing Internet Governance efforts and structures outside his control as illegitimate and failing. He then introduces new Internet Government mechanisms or favors empowering existing ones that are already under his control. There is no place for engaged citizenship in the policy-making process.
Macron fails to acknowledge or consider the fundamental differences between the sovereignty of nation states and the scope of cyberspace on the Internet. People now live a dual national and digital reality calling for a global digital citizenship with its respective rights and responsibilities. Both citizenships are intermingled, but they are fundamentally different. Digital Citizenship exists within the sovereignty of global virtual spaces. There is a need to develop and implement governance structures where persons, entities and even governments are engaged stakeholders. All stakeholders — be they private users, NGOs, corporations or governments — are digital citizens with rights and responsibilities. No one stakeholder is more equal in the design or execution of those rights and responsibilities.
Macron observes that we had thousands of years to develop governance structures that foster and protect humankind in the literal world, but that we have had only a few decades to do the same for our digital citizenship within the Internet ecosystem. While various national, regional and international entities are engaged in Internet policy making, much of the focus is on privacy and security, on intellectual property, and on cybercrime and cyberwar. Less has focused on defining the digital rights and duties of stakeholders or embraced the notions empowered digital citizenship without which there is no basis for just and legitimate Internet Governance, leaving the integrity and sustainability of the Internet ecosystem at risk.
Macron, at best, is misguided and premature. One way or another there is a role for some of what he is proposing but not as government regulations dictated from above. They will best come from awareness and collaboration from below, and governance models that come out of truly engaged stakeholder dialogue.
One fear with Macron's starting point is regulations designed free of stakeholder engagement, saved by those who already have entitled access to policymaking, will soon lead to wider and wider regulation of the DNS itself. In the absence of a multistakeholder process, even to underpin multilateral policies, all stakeholders (Registries, Registrars, bloggers, etc.) will confront direct government interference, and not just in the domain name aspects of their businesses.
There are many areas that will target ICANN.org's core remit. Issues involving Internet oligopolies and the Internet fringes of the Internet ecosystem are rich in DNS-linked problems. The French Government has made its intentions clear when it recently demanded rights on second-level domain names like France.com. There are worries about a "China Internet" while, at the global level, China is just another stakeholder in the Internet ecosystem. There are both educational and governance challenges there.
There is much hallway chatter around the issues of Internet governance; about the risks of a wolf in the hen house (to borrow from Children's literature). Can you imagine the security, stability, and resilience of a UN-run Internet? Can you imagine the same run by the ITU? Can you imagine ICANN trying to cover all the bases of Internet ecosystem governance or even just downstream consequences of DNS deployment? I can't! But can you imagine a sustainable Internet ecosystem in which the UN, the ITU, ICANN, or Country X are not engaged as stakeholders in the governance processes? I can't! This is not exactly a case of hold your friends close and hold your enemies closer, but it is one of building knowledgeable and engaged stakeholder citizen communities.
Written by Klaus Stoll
www.circleid.com | 11/28/18
France isn't the only country particularly wary of streaming services. Italian Culture and Tourism Minister Alberto Bonisoli recently unveiled a law that would require all Italian-made movies to show in theaters before they reach Netflix, Prime Video...
www.engadget.com | 11/18/18
On the way to the grocery store, “Family First” director Sophie Dupuis got a call that made her wish she wasn’t wearing jeggings. Not only was her first feature film Canada’s official entry into the Oscar foreign film race, but she needed to announcement it live within the hour.
“I was sure it wasn’t going to be us,” the Quebec native told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at a Q&A on Tuesday following a screening of the crime drama.
“Family First” is a 90-minute journey into the dysfunctional world of debt collectors, brothers JP (Jean-Simon Leduc) and 19-year-old Vincent (Theodore Pellerin). While older brother JP begins to have doubts about helping the cartel collect their money, a group lead by their uncle Dany (Paul Ahmarani), Vincent’s explosive, care-free personality leads him deeper into Dany’s web. Canadian actress Maude Guerin plays the on-again off-again alcoholic mother to JP and Vincent in the film.
Despite the circumstances, each member of the family feels unconditionally tied to one another. Dupuis told the audience at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles that she hopes that with “Family First” audiences can experience a movie where “love is the winner,” not necessarily a specific character.
And despite it being her first feature, Dupuis elaborated to say that she wanted to go for gold by making a crime drama that “the audience could feel physically.” To add that level of tension, Dupuis made sure the story included more than one version of violence, she said. Not only would audiences see physical violence, but emotional and situational as well.
Situational violence takes form when the family is home at the apartment. No matter what is going on, Vincent will constantly hover over everyone and won’t let them sit still. He will spontaneously pull their hair, smooch their forehead or make them answer his needs by berating them until they surrender to his will. With the assistance of hand-held cinematography, scenes in the apartment of the family attempting to tame Vincent are meant to evoke a sense of despair and imprisonment, Dupuis told the audience.
Finding the right person to play the role of Vincent was key for Dupuis.
“I was afraid it would be really hard to find him,” Dupuis said.
Pellerin had actually come in to audition for the role of JP, which was initially supposed to be much younger than the Leduc character is in the final film. At one point, Pellerin mentioned he was also interested in the Vincent character. The moment Pellerin began to improvise what his version of the character would be like, Dupuis exclaimed, “He was already Vincent.”
The rehearsal process took five weeks, during which time Dupuis collaborated with the cast to mold their characters into what they would later become. That’s because for Dupuis, the casting process is where she finds actors who will work well on her production. It’s during rehearsals when she is able to put a face to those characters by working with the actor to find their sweet spots.
This includes the character of JP, who attempts to remain calm and in control during chaotic moments. Dupuis said Leduc was picked in a crop of 200 or so auditions for his ability to evoke “sensitivity and sensibility.”
The final product would be a film that was nominated for best film, best director, best actor and winning best actress at the Quebec Cinema Awards and is now in the crop of films vying for a shot a best foreign film at the Oscars.
“Family First” premiered in Canada in March and will premiere in France and Belgium this week. Producer Etienne Hansez, who was also in attendance, told the audience they are still currently looking for a U.S. distributor.
www.thewrap.com | 11/14/18
The former head of Tate Modern had to resign from his last job after protests. France’s culture ministry said he will take over one of the country’s largest exhibition spaces.
www.nytimes.com | 11/8/18
Set in 17th-century France, Chris Womersley’s novel “City of Crows” features a mother who succumbs to witchcraft and a grifter with a gift for the tarot.
www.nytimes.com | 10/26/18
Ecuadorian director Jamaicanoproblem has spent his life looking for treasure in the Amazon. In his new documentary-drama hybrid “A Son of Man,” Jamaicanoproblem wanted to film his recent quest for both ancient Incan gold and a newfound bond with his son.
“Through the arts, I have created a relationship with my son,” Jamaicanoproblem told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at a Q&A on Monday following a screening of his film, Ecuador’s entry into the Oscar foreign language film race. “Treasure doesn’t always mean gold. Treasure can be finding the unknown.”
“A Son of Man” follows both Jamaicanoproblem (real name Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador y Campodonico) and his son Pipe (Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador y Boloña) in their real-life journey to find ancient Incan gold, which legend has it is hidden in the “eye of Atahualpa.”
Producer Lily van Ghemen said shooting in the jungles of South America was like “trying to shoot a space movie in space.” They were able to use drones to capture much of what is seen in the dense jungles.
Jamaicanoproblem told the audience at the Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles that the inspiration for “A Son of Man” began with a fear of losing his own father, who first set out to find the treasure decades ago. Even though Jamaicanoproblem had never made a film before, capturing his own journey through the jungle would be a way to immortalize the man who got it all started.
He captured more than 500 hours of footage, with about 1,500 crew members across years of filmmaking. The sheer magnitude of the project is a reason why the production had early trouble finding backers — and a filmmaker to oversee it. “To bring this vision to reality, I talked to many directors,” Jamaicanoproblem said. “Nobody wanted to take the film. The concept seemed very strange and impossible.”
Luckily, Jamaicanoproblem found van Ghemen, who was fascinated by making “a fiction narrative out of a real story.”
Even though Jamaicanoproblem has found success with the film, which has also been submitted in the documentary feature category, he told the audience that this will most likely be his first and final film.
“That’s what he says now,” van Ghemen joked.
And does he think the treasure is still out there?
“I can absolutely assure you it’s there,” Jamaicanoproblem said.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/23/18
CANNES — France’s TeamTO and China’s UYoung Culture & Media Co. have struck a longterm development, production and distribution alliance. The agreement gives the Beijing-based UYoung, one of China’s foremost children’s entertainment production-distribution companies, the opportunity to co-develop and co-produce TeamTO shows. UYoung has also acquired Chinese distribution rights to the series, as well as […]
variety.com | 10/13/18
"Isn't art always, to a certain extent, therapy for the artist?" Oscilloscope Labs has debuted an official US trailer for the cinema documentary Searching for Ingmar Bergman, which first premiered as a Cannes Classic at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The documentary celebrates Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman's 100th birthday, by taking an extensive and fascinating look at his life and creative inspiration. The doc presents key scenes and recurring themes in his films and his life, and journeys to the places at the center of Bergman's creative achievement and the focal points of his life such as the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, locations and landscapes from his masterpieces, and his stations in Sweden, Germany, Spain, and France. This looks like a profound, entrancing, wonderful look at the life of a true master filmmaker. US trailer (+ posters) for Margarethe von Trotta's doc Searching for Ingmar Bergman, from YouTube: On the 100th anniversary of his birth, internationally renowned director Margarethe ...
www.firstshowing.net | 10/11/18
One year after the launch of the #MeToo movement with the New York Times’ and the New Yorker’s award-winning exposés of indie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood insiders say that there have been some significant changes to address sexual misconduct in the industry.
Many studios, networks and other entertainment companies have tightened contract language and increased employee training programs to prevent harassment in executive offices, on film and TV sets and even in audition rooms, executives and entertainment lawyers said.
Despite the career downfall of high-profile men such as Weinstein, CBS CEO Les Moonves and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons following multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, though, questions linger about how effective these steps have been to change Hollywood’s culture.
“The law has remained the same. What’s different is the volume of reporting is just exponentially more,” Elsa Rama, an entertainment lawyer, told TheWrap.
“More people are reporting bad behavior and employers are more sensitive to handling it and adhering to the law, whereas before our industry was probably a bit too casual about it,” she added.
And many companies are trying to get ahead of the accusation wave by educating employees about acceptable behavior with mandatory training sessions across departments. Angela Reddock-Wright, a Los Angeles attorney who specializes in sexual harassment and discrimination, estimated that the number of prevention trainings that she gives has increased 50 percent in the last year.
“In light of what’s happening, companies and studios want to make sure they are re-educating their managers and supervisors on what to do when issues of sexual harassment are reported to them,” she said.
Contracts have also come under focus in the last year. Although sexual harassment was always considered a breach of contracts, experts told TheWrap that legal language that was purposefully broad before #MeToo is now being tightened to provide clearer consequences for cases of sexual harassment and assault.
“[Many contracts] are much more specific in terms of providing a sexual harassment policy that’s curtailed to production setting, having a reporting mechanism that’s very clear, but also having the ability for grounds for termination, as well as what to do with allegations outside the workplace environment,” Rama said.
Another entertainment attorney, who asked not to be named, told TheWrap that the main differences have come at the negotiating table. Whereas agents once had more leeway to negotiate morality clauses out of contracts for talent, studios are now more likely to insist that they remain.
Moreover, the attorney said that morality clauses were previously intended to address criminal convictions and actors going to jail, but now they are getting broadened to include various forms of sexual misconduct that may not require legal outcomes.
Reddock-Wright said the effectiveness of any policy change is ultimately dependent on people’s willingness to follow it — or not. “So the real question is — if we have had laws and policies against sexual harassment in the workplace for years, why does harassment continue to happen? Why is the #MeToo movement so prevalent?” she said.
“It ultimately comes down to power — those who use their power and influence to exercise control over individuals, and to make individuals believe that if they do not succumb to their sexual propositions, they will not make it in this town,” she said. “Some use their powers for good. Others use them to take advantage of others.”
The advent of the #MeToo movement has raised general awareness of the issue — which has taken down both executives like Weinstein as well as on-camera stars like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K.
Stars and prominent Hollywood figures like Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes helped launch the Time’s Up initiative, a fund that aims to support employees who encounter sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace.
The major Hollywood guilds have also released new guidelines since last fall intended to protect their members from harassment and other abuse — though many are not legally or contractually binding. In April, SAG-AFTRA released a guideline calling on producers to refrain from holding professional meetings in hotel rooms and private residences, and urged actors to avoid high-risk locations as well.
The move came after Weinstein was accused by several women of misconduct inside hotel rooms in cities around the world, from Beverly Hills to New York to Cannes, France. (He has denied any accusation of nonconsensual sex.) These guidelines were contractually adopted by the Network Television Code in July, which SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris described as a “real victory.”
The union is also working to develop rules that will better protect actors during on-screen nudity and sex scenes.
“There’s so much more exposure to your body and there’s more [on-screen] intimacy taking place,” Carteris told TheWrap. “Our conversations actually deal with the whole process of being a performer… and the vulnerabilities you have, and then we’re creating structures around those vulnerabilities.”
Even Carteris admits she does not know whether #MeToo advocates can make lasting change to how Hollywood does business.
“I know there’s been a shift. It’s happening in the audition room, it’s happening on set,” she told TheWrap. “We’re going to have to wait and see if it’s a sustainable shift. Kudos to those people who really recognize that there needs to be a change.”
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www.thewrap.com | 10/5/18
Charles Aznavour, one of France’s greatest singers, composers and film stars, has died. He was 94.
According to multiple media reports, the French Culture Ministry announced his death on Monday. A representative for the Culture Ministry has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
According to the BBC, Aznavour died at one of his homes in the south east of France.
Aznavour was perhaps best known for his 1974 hit, “She,” and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. He was also named entertainer of the century by CNN in 1998. In a career spanning over 80 years, he released more than 1,200 songs and wrote or co-wrote over 1,000. According to The Guardian, he was regularly referred to as France’s Frank Sinatra. He sang for presidents and royal families at numerous charitable and humanitarian events.
He often sang about taboo subjects. His 1955 song “Apres l’Amour” was banned in France because it depicted a couple in post-coital happiness, while 1972’s “What Makes a Man” was about a gay transvestite. His singing partners included Sinatra, Elton John, Celine Dion, Sting and Liza Minnelli.
Apart from selling more than 180 million records, Aznavour also starred in 80 films and TV movies, including 1974’s “And Then There Were None,” as well as 1979’s “The Tin Drum,” which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1980.
Aznavour was born on May 22, 1924 in France to Armenian parents who had fled Armenia’s genocide to start a new life in Paris. The Guardian reported that he left school at the age of nine to become a child actor, appearing in Francois Truffaut’s “Shoot the Piano Player.” During the occupation of Paris during World War II, he forged his singing career performing in cabarets as his family hid Jews and communists in their apartment while fighting with the resistance.
Aznavour was also an activist for the Armenian people. After the 1988 Armenian earthquake, he founded an organization with his friend Levon Sayan, and in 2009, he was appointed the ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland, as well as Armenia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva.
According to the BBC, the singer was set to embark on a seven-date tour across France and Switzerland starting in November this year.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/1/18
Roman Polanski apparently has something to say about a man being wrongfully convicted of a crime. The infamous director has started production on his next film “J’accuse,” his first project in the #MeToo era.
The film tells the story of the Dreyfus Affair, a political scandal in which Jewish French captain Alfred Dreyfus was wrongfully convicted of treason in 1894, and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s island.
Polanski, a French-Polish filmmaker, fled the U.S. in 1977 after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977. He was imprisoned for 42 days, after which he was released and put on probation as part of a plea bargain. When Polanski learned the judge planned to revoke the plea deal, the director fled to Paris before the sentencing.
Since the accusations and revelations of roughly 30 years of sexual harassment and assault against former power producer, Harvey Weinstein came to light nearly a year ago, the #MeToo movement has toppled a number of powerful men in the industry. The accusations against Bill Cosby have led to the comedian serving anywhere from three to ten years in prison.
Polanski, however, has managed to not only stay out of jail but continue to write, produce and direct films.
“J’accuse” will begin filming this fall in Paris. Louis Garrel will star as Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the real-life French-Jewish soldier wrongly convicted of spying for the Germans. While imprisoned, evidence arose identifying the actual culprit, but it was suppressed by the French military, which then falsified documents used to accuse Dreyfus of further crimes. Dreyfus became a cause celebre however, and after more than a decade was fully exonerated. But the matter exposed deep strains of antisemitism in France with profound effects during the following decades.
Academy Award-winning actor Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) will star as the counter-espionage officer who vindicated Dreyfus. Mathieu Amalric, Olivier Gourmet, and Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner round out the cast. Polanski has been developing the film since 2012, from a script penned by British novelist Robert Harris.
Polanski has already let his opinion be known on the subject of the #MeToo movement, calling it a “Total hypocrisy.” Now he’s getting the chance to explore a man reeling for a wrongful accusation through his art.
In May, Polanski was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with Cosby. He was expelled 15 years after his film “The Pianist” took home Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor at the 75th Academy Awards. The film was nominated for Best Picture, but lost to “Chicago.”
The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter
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www.thewrap.com | 9/29/18
James Lipton is leaving “Inside the Actors Studio” as its host and executive producer, Ovation TV announced Monday.
The 92-year-old Lipton created the show in 1994 that features his one-on-one interviews with A-list film and television stars about the evolution of their careers. It will be moving from its long-time home on Bravo to Ovation TV in the Fall of 2019, where a rotating list of guest hosts will conduct the interviews.
“It’s very gratifying to see the legacy of ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ being carried forward for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy,” Lipton said in a statement.
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“I made a vow early on that we would not deal in gossip — only in craft, and Ovation, as a network to the arts, will continue that tradition with the next seasons of the series,” he added. “I’m excited to see the new hosts engage with the guests and students and continue to entertain viewers in the U.S. and around the world.”
The show began as a craft seminar for students at New York’s Actors Studio Masters program at Pace University, and was a joint venture between the Actors Studio and New School University. Paul Newman was the first of Lipton’s more than 200 guest interviews that included everyone from Brad Pitt to Barbra Streisand, and from Clint Eastwood to Martin Scorsese.
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www.thewrap.com | 9/25/18
Students from the University of Southern California have been named recipients of four Student Academy Awards for 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday.
The four USC wins make it the only school to take more than one award. The school was recognized by one nomination in the animation category, one in the documentary category and two in the narrative category.
The other American films schools that won awards were Florida State, CalArts, Ringling College of Art and Design, NYU, the University of California at Berkeley and Chapman University.
In the four international categories, the winners came from schools in the U.K., France, Hungary, Switzerland and Sweden.
While the Academy announced the winners on Wednesday, it will not reveal the medal that each film has won until the Student Academy Awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. While the three levels of prize — gold, siver and bronze — carry different cash awards, all winners are now qualified for the 2018 Academy Awards in the short-film categories.
Past winners of Student Academy Awards include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter, Cary Fukunaga, Trey Parker and Pete Docter.
Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Animation (International Film Schools)
Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
Documentary (International Film Schools)
Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
Narrative (International Film Schools)
www.thewrap.com | 9/12/18
Legendary actress Cecily Tyson and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy are among this year’s Honorary Oscar winners, the film academy announced Wednesday.
Tyson (“Fried Green Tomatoes,” “The Help”), who is 93, will receive the AMPAS prize along with publicist Marvin Levy and composer Lalo Schifrin. Prolific film producers and husband-and-wife team Kennedy and Frank Marshall will receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
For the 10th year, the Academy governors will hold the honorary ceremony prior to the official Oscars telecast, this year on Nov. 18 at Hollywood and Highland’s Dolby Ballroom.
The award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy,” an announcement said.
The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is not an Oscar statue but a bust of the motion picture executive, is presented to creative producers “whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”
Read career highlights for this year’s honorees:
Levy began his career in publicity working for MGM in New York City before joining Columbia Pictures in Hollywood, where he guided the advertising for films including “The Deep” and “Kramer vs. Kramer.” His work for the 1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” marked the beginning of a four-decade-long partnership with Steven Spielberg. Levy has held positions at Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Studios and Amblin Partners, and has worked on publicity campaigns for such films as “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “American Beauty,” “Gladiator” and “Lincoln.” Levy is the first publicist to receive an honorary Oscar.
Born and raised in Argentina, Schifrin studied classical music and jazz in France before beginning to compose for film in Buenos Aires in the mid-1950s. He has written scores for more than 100 films, including “The Cincinnati Kid,” “Bullitt,” “Dirty Harry,” “Enter the Dragon” and “Rush Hour.” His memorable theme for the television series “Mission: Impossible” has been a hallmark of the recent film series. He has received six Oscar® nominations, for the original scores for “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), “The Fox” (1968), “Voyage of the Damned” (1976) and “The Amityville Horror” (1979), the original song “People Alone” from “The Competition” (1980) and the adaptation score for “The Sting II” (1983).
Raised in Harlem, Tyson began her career as a model and a theater actress, appearing both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. After playing small roles in feature films and television, she was cast as Portia in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” in 1968. Four years later, she received an Academy Award® nomination for her leading performance in “Sounder.” Her other notable film credits include “The River Niger,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “The Help,” “Alex Cross” and “Last Flag Flying.”
The Kennedy/Marshall producing partnership, formed in 1991, has generated Best Picture nominations for “The Sixth Sense” (1999), “Seabiscuit” (2003), “Munich” (2005) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008). Kennedy/Marshall Company productions also include “Congo,” all five “Bourne” films, and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Prior to forming Kennedy/Marshall, the duo co-founded Amblin Productions with Steven Spielberg, sharing a Best Picture nomination for “The Color Purple” (1985). Additionally, Marshall received a Best Picture nomination for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), while Kennedy was nominated in the same category for “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), “War Horse” (2011) and “Lincoln” (2012). Kennedy is the first woman to receive the Thalberg Award.
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www.thewrap.com | 9/6/18
It’s difficult to ask hard questions about change and technology and progress — particularly to consider whether “progress” is actually progress or not — without sounding like a cranky old man, but writer-director Olivier Assayas has now done it twice. 2008’s “Summer Hours” contemplated a world in which new generations seemed uninterested in preserving art history and cultural treasures of the past, and now a decade later, with “Non-Fiction,” he asks similarly pointed questions about the future of books and literature in the internet age.
That he does so with a minimum of breast-beating and a surfeit of sparkling wit no doubt helps the message go down, particularly since it’s clear that he’s not offering answers but instead merely asking the questions.
The film introduces us to a group of friends, lovers and colleagues, all of whom engage in spirited conversations about the state of writing, acting and politics, areas that have been forever changed by online habits. Alain (Guillaume Canet, “Tell No One”) runs a venerable publishing house, trying to weigh the benefits and consequences of pivoting to digital. He’s having an affair with Laure (Christa Théret), the woman running that digital transformation, even though she has extreme ideas about what counts as literature (she equates tweets with haiku) and about the extinction of books and libraries.
Alain’s actress wife Selena (Juliette Binoche), spinning her wheels on a police drama, knows he’s cheating and rekindles a fling with author Léonard (Vincent Macaigne, “The Innocents”), whose latest manuscript Alain does not want to publish. Léonard is infamous for writing novels that are merely thinly-veiled accounts of his own life and love affairs — he insists it’s “auto-fiction” — and Selena lobbies for the publication of his book even though she inspired one of the characters. (It’s telling that Alain seemingly never notices this.)
“Non-Fiction” is Assayas’ talkiest film to date, but it’s also probably his funniest. (There’s a running gag about a movie-theater sex act and Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” that keeps paying off brilliantly.) Assayas seems to be channeling the spirit of Éric Rohmer and his marathon dialogue-fests, but this is smart, insightful talk, delivered by an exemplary ensemble of performers (which also includes Nora Hamzawi as Léonard’s girlfriend, who works for an idealistic politician).
Assayas is undoubtedly snobby about popular culture — the bit we see of Selena’s cop show looks as dreadful as the superhero movie that Binoche goes to see in “Clouds of Sils Maria” — but he’s never overly precious about the topic at hand.
Books are, of course, wonderful things, but when Laure and other characters make a case for cheaper, more accessible e-books, the movie doesn’t necessarily disagree. “Non-Fiction” makes just as many barbs at the current state of the book industry, where authors sell books via controversy caused by writing barely-concealed roman à clefs about their real lovers and enemies.
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Unlike Rohmer, who favored long takes and frequently locked down his camera, Assayas keeps these many conversations vibrant with the help of editor Simon Jacquet, who keeps each scene vibrant without ever overplaying his hand, as well as cinematographer Yorick Le Saux (“A Bigger Splash”), who captures the warmth of the characters’ bourgeois surroundings but also clearly had a blast faking that cop show.
As with “Summer Hours,” “Non-Fiction” traffics in ideas and concerns without handing out leaflets; first and foremost, this is an empathetic and charming character piece, featuring top-notch actors (Binoche revels in a rare opportunity to be funny) enjoying richly clever dialogue. And if it encourages viewers to support their local indie bookstore afterward, then so much the better.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/31/18
Pierre Hache, who performs as Kiddy Smile, is taking the energy and inclusive spirit of Paris ball culture to the masses — and even to the presidential palace.
www.nytimes.com | 8/27/18
A version of this story on Lynn Novick first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
Lynn Novick has worked with Ken Burns on a series of celebrated, epic-length documentaries: “Baseball” in 1994, “Jazz” in 2001 and “Prohibition” in 2011 among them.
Their latest collaboration is “The Vietnam War,” a 10-part examination of the war in Southeast Asia that took a decade to make and includes interviews with 79 different witnesses from all sides of the conflict.
The show’s four nominations include one for Novick and Burns for directing Episode 8, which deals with the stormy period in 1969 and 1970 when opposition to the war intensified in the U.S. and protests on college campuses were met with violence.
What was the biggest challenge of the series?
If the history is still traumatic, how do you get people, particularly in Vietnam, to open up and talk about it honestly?
It seemed clear, the more times we went there, that there was a hunger for talking about a subject that is difficult to talk about there, which is what the war was really like. The price they paid and the internal conflict. It was a war of liberation as a civil war.
When you started working on the series, did you realize it would be in 10 parts over more than 17 hours?
And as we collect the material, we start to shape it. The narrative of the people and their stories happens in the edit room. I think we originally said it will be six or seven shows, somebody said eight or nine, and by the end we had 10.
Why should we learn about Vietnam now?
It seems as if Vietnam was the war where we started to ask a question that we’ve asked in every subsequent conflict: “What are we fighting for?”
It was extremely healthy for our democracy and extremely inspiring to see the American public challenging the government and saying, “Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing.”
This year’s Emmys have 40 male directing nominees and only four women. What’s wrong with that picture?
I think we’re seeing more awareness of that, but going from awareness of a problem to opening up opportunities to different kinds of people is a slow process — way too slow.
To read more of TheWrap’s Down to the Wire issue, click here.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/19/18
If the MTV Video Music Awards have ever been about the awards themselves, that era is long past. The most unpredictable and frequently over-the-top awards show remains one of the last-standing watercooler TV events by delivering iconic moments year after year. Here are a few of the most legendary from the show’s nearly 35 year life.
Madonna performed her single “Like a Virgin” at the very first VMAs in 1984, donning a wedding dress for a performance that looks downright tame by modern standards but raised a few eyebrows in its day.
Looking to top her last performance when she returned to the VMAs stage in 1990, Madonna went for an elaborate 18th Century France-inspired aesthetic for her rendition of Video of the Year nominee “Vogue.”
Michael Jackson and then-wife Lisa Marie Presley shocked the audience when they locked lips for an awkwardly long and stilted kiss while introducing the 1994 VMAs.
In 1995, Courtney Love crashed Madonna’s live post-VMAs interview by throwing makeup at the pop star and screaming across the room. “Courtney Love is in dire need of attention right now,” Madonna deadpanned before being forced to cede her airtime to the Hole singer’s antics.
In hindsight, the idea of Fiona Apple appearing at the VMAs seems like an odd fit, but one gets the sense it never made less sense to anyone than to Apple herself, who famously proclaimed “This world is bulls—” while on stage to collect her Best New Artist award.
Lil Kim’s racy outfit at the 1999 VMAs grabbed the attention of many a red carpet photographer, but the rapper’s one bare breast also captured the imagination of her co-presenter Diana Ross, who couldn’t resist giving Kim’s chest a gentle onstage tap.
Upset about his band’s loss to Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford bum rushed the VMAs stage in 2000, attempting to bring the entire night to a literal crashing halt by scaling the background. He failed and spent the night in jail.
Former Disney star Britney Spears had no shortage of moments marking her new persona as an adult pop star, but none more iconic than her 2001 performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U” with an albino burmese python named Banana wrapped around her shoulders.
In 2002, Britney Spears presented Michael Jackson with a lifetime achievement trophy in honor of his birthday, but her use of the phrase “artist of the millennium” seemed to capture Jackson’s imagination, leading him to deliver a speech accepting an award definitely does not exist.
For decades Madonna stood as the biggest provocateur at the VMAs, and inviting Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to join her on stage in a re-creation of her iconic “Like a Virgin” performance was meant to be something of a torch-passing. What no one was expecting was for the three performers to up the ante by making out on stage.
Britney Spears has had many ups and downs throughout her decades-long career, but her glassy-eyed performance of “Gimme More” at the 2007 VMAs stands as one of her most public fumbles, a warning sign of the rocky road ahead.
With four now-legendary words — “I’mma let you finish” — Kanye West ensured that Taylor Swift’s career would be inextricably tied to his own. Whether its a feud between stars, a troubled friendship or a media narrative from which one party would like to be excluded, the story of Kanye and Taylor has transcended debate about whether or not Beyonce made the best music video of all time.
Lil Mama effectively tanked her career when the spirit of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’s “Empire State of Mind” carried her out of her seat in the audience and onto the VMAs stage. Confused viewers may have at first believed the stunt was intentional, but by the time Jay-Z attempted to shoo her off like a dirty New York pigeon, her fate was sealed.
Despite a long career in New York and two giant singles in “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” Lady Gaga was still far off from the mainstay pop star she is now when she performed “Paparazzi” in 2009. A self-consciously arty and borderline-manic performance that ended with her bloodied body being lifted into the air, Gaga’s VMAs debut was a bold statement by an artist looking to stake her position in the pop landscape.
A year after the interruption heard round the world, West returned to the VMAs to debut “Runaway,” a haunting toast to “douchebags” and “assholes” that’s widely regarded as one of the best and most self-reflective singles in the rapper’s catalogue.
If there’s an image from the 2010 VMAs that will endure the test of time, it’s Lady Gaga, who showed up wearing a dress made out of raw meat, accepting her Moonman from Cher, wearing a re-creation of one of her most iconic ’80s costumes.
Blue Ivy Carter made her television debut at the 2011 VMAs, when Beyonce took the stage to perform the immaculate throwback single “Love on Top.” “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me,” she told the audience, nailing every dance step and key change before surprising the crowd by unveiling her baby bump.
The VMAs have come to be defined by flashy costumes, big energy and even bigger stunts, but in 2011 Adele showed everyone up by slowing it down. Accompanied by just a piano and a spotlight, the British songstress brought the house down with her world-conquering ballad “Someone Like You.”
Rihanna opening the 2012 VMAs with a medley of her hits “Cockiness” and “We Found Love” isn’t often the first performance that people remember, which is a shame because the seamless shift between the DGAF attitude that would later become her trademark and the party-starting pop star persona that defined her early career was so skillfully executed.
If Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke at the 2013 VMAs didn’t launch the thinkpiece industry, it certainly sent it into high-gear. Conversations about race and culture online have since become commonplace, but for many, it was Cyrus’s wagging tongue that led them to first encounter the phrase “cultural appropriation.”
When Beyonce accepted her Video Vanguard Award in 2014 with a 15-minute medley of the songs from her groundbreaking self-titled visual album, it was the fact that she stood in front of the word “feminist” that caught people’s attention. But looking back, it’s the other parts that are most notable — the effortless stylistic shifts and confident swagger that would later be honed and refined into her staggering, two-hour performance at Coachella years later.
Ahead of the 2015 VMAs, much of the conversation revolved around a social media spat between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift over well-deserved criticism of the lily white list of nominees. That feud was publicly put to bed by the two artists when they opened the show together, but before the night was over, Minaj had trained her sights on a different target. Firing off a warning shot from the stage in the direction of the night’s host, Minaj spat, “Miley, what’s good?”
Kanye West’s public statements have gotten him more attention than his music in recent years, a phenomenon which dates back to at least 2015, when he was awarded the Video Vanguard Award and opted out of a performance in favor of a long, rambling speech. To this day, it remains unclear whether or not he was serious when he threatened to make a bid for the White House in 2020.
Without a host, the 2016 VMAs had an erratic energy that felt liable to unspool at any moment, but thankfully Beyonce was there to salvage the show. Performing the hits from her 2016 album “Lemonade” with commitment and ferocity, she held the entire night together through sheer force of talent.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/17/18
This story about “Queer Eye” first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
When rebooted “Queer Eye” was first getting off the ground at Netflix, showrunner Jennifer Lane knew it was going to live or die on its cast. The new Fab Five — the five gay men who would serve as personal lifestyle advisers and spiritual guides — would not only have to live up to the cast of the original cult-favorite Bravo series, they’d also have to stand on their own.
“We were almost overly cautious,” Lane said. “It was really important to us that our Fab Five remember the original Fab Five and be excited to take their place. But we knew the whole time we had something special with these guys.”
The new quintet — Bobby Berk, design; Karamo Brown, culture; Tan France, fashion; Antoni Porowski, food and wine; and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming — popped off the screen from the jump. Overflowing with charisma and an easy chemistry, the cast turned what could’ve been just another stop on the way to the bottom of the TV reboot barrel into a phenomenon.
Fans latched onto them too, creating memes out of things like Brown’s many bomber jackets or conspiracies about Porowski’s cooking ability. So did the participants (“heroes,” in show parlance) who at first often seemed overwhelmed by opening up their homes and their lives to five exuberant strangers, but quickly found themselves changed for the better by the experience.
Lane observed the phenomenon from the first episode. “It was so special in that last scene where you can see that he’s really sorry to see them go,” she said. “You realize that they’ve really made a difference in his life, even though it was only four days.
“This wasn’t just bulls— — so long as we treated our heroes with respect, we could really make a difference in their lives.”
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www.thewrap.com | 8/16/18
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent out a call for five-word movie summaries on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. And thousands of people responded — including “Terminator” star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It’s a refreshingly off-brand idea from the Academy, being a hell of a lot more succinct than the typical Oscar acceptance speech, and the responses have been pretty fun and often very clever. For instance, Schwarzenegger, who not surprisingly picked the plot of his career-defining hits “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2.”
CNN anchor Bill Weir picked Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir “Chinatown,” though his contribution is less a summary of the plot and more just a recitation of the film’s second most famous line.
Our personal favorite comes from Twitter user John Bousfield, who offered up this perfect summary of the plot of Christopher Nolan’s 2001 film debut “Memento”:
(For those of you who might have forgotten, Memento plays out in reverse chronological order to simulate the experience of the main character, played by Guy Pearce, who is unable to form short-term memories.)
User Alex Benjamin had this pithy take on 2004’s Tina Fey-written dramedy “Mean Girls”:
Jessie McFadden meanwhile had this to say about John Hughes’ 1985 coming-of-age classic “The Breakfast Club”:
Christopher Buehlman got a Matt Damon threefer with this sum up of the plots of “Interstellar” (where Damon plays an astronaut who must be rescued in space), “Saving Private Ryan” (where Damon plays a soldier who must be extricated from World War II France), and “The Martian” (where Damon plays an astronaut stranded on Mars):
Here’s Pixar’s “Up”:
A certain 1994 British romantic comedy:
Re-litigating the final scene of that one Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet movie:
Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”:
And speaking of Spielberg, people have opinions about how best to sum up “Jurassic Park.”
And quite a few “The Big Lebowski” stans showed up.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/1/18
For someone so smart, how can Mark Zuckerberg be so very, very dumb?
Maybe it’s a lack of what we used to call a “liberal arts” education — a foundation in basic philosophy, history, ethics — although they used to teach that stuff at Harvard. Maybe it’s the moral confusion we sometimes see in very leftie liberals who are afraid to offend anyone at any time.
Zuckerberg clearly does not understand that free speech is the bedrock of a democratic society, but that it has its limits. This confusion is very concerning in someone who controls as large a platform as Facebook.
For example: Holocaust denial, which is banned in both Germany and France because of the evident danger to free society posed by spreading poisonous lies. Denying the Holocaust is not an academic point of view or the result of random confusion — it is a deliberate tactic used to sustain and justify anti-Semitism. Those kinds of lies once led to the near-extinction of Zuckerberg’s own ancestral group, European Jews.
But bizarrely, Zuckerberg this week used Holocaust denial as the example of free speech that he would not want to suppress on Facebook.
In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher (one of the only journalists whom he seems to grant interviews), Zuckerberg said when asked about regulating speech on Facebook:
Here Swisher correctly interjects that this is probably not the case.
Zuckerberg plows on:
That was a lot of words, and none of them very eloquent. Did Zuckerberg just compare Holocaust deniers to himself when he misspeaks in public?
For the record, Holocaust denial is usually the textbook example of why you sometimes need to regulate speech. (Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is another one.) Instead, Zuckerberg is using it as an example of why Facebook prefers to let everyone hash it out in public.
After thoughtful people criticized him on Wednesday, Zuckerberg followed up with a note to Swisher saying he was misunderstood — “I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.” But that explanation still did not reflect an understanding that this is not a subject of debate among people of good will or that Facebook should have a position on this.
Yesterday, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Abraham Cooper said that Facebook officials told the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2009 that Holocaust denial content would be removed from the platform.
“Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news,'” Cooper said in a statement. “The Nazi Holocaust is the most documented atrocity in history, allowing the canard of Holocaust denial to be posted on Facebook, or any other social media platform cannot be justified in the name of ‘free exchange of ideas’ when the idea itself is based on a falsehood.”
Get it, Mark? People who control mass communication platforms have a responsibility to think about the intent of the people using the platform. Uncomfortable as it may be, Facebook morally and ethically must make judgement calls about the content being posted. Those of us in news organizations do it every day.
The same goes for denying that the Sandy Hook massacre ever happened. It is immoral for Facebook to exercise no judgement around this content, aimed at spreading misinformation.
And yes, it’s complicated and sticky and a lot harder than coding Xs and Os.
The reality is that Zuckerbeg is winging it when it comes to making value judgements about the vast array of content on his platform. He doesn’t want to have to make decisions, dammit, that’s not why he started the thing.
Zuckerberg has demonstrated before his extreme discomfort with monitoring content, and his unwillingness to step in and make judgement calls. This moral abdication — this doing nothing — dovetails with Facebook’s profitable but questionable practice of mining the data of his users and then selling it to third parties even when he said he wasn’t doing so.
So now we can add Holocaust Denial to the list of things that the man who controls a communications platform with 2 billion-plus users does not understand.
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www.thewrap.com | 7/19/18
CAN YOU BELIEVE these cuties?? Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), Bobby Berk (interior design), Karamo Brown (culture), Tan France (fashion), and Antoni Porowski (food and wine) have taken 2018 by storm with their Netflix reboot! And NOW they've been nominated for FOUR Emmys! Wow! While each of the Fab 5 are special in their own way, everyone has a [...]
perezhilton.com | 7/12/18
Keira Knightley challenges the patriarchy and flirts up a storm — with both sexes — in the first trailer for Wash Westmoreland’s indie biopic “Colette” about the early-20th-century French novelist best known in the U.S. for the novella “Gigi.”
Knightley could be gunning for her third Oscar nomination for the showy role as Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris when she marries a successful writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West).
Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a best-seller and a cultural sensation.
After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression.
The cast also includes Eleanor Tomlinson, Elaine Gough and Fiona Shaw.
In addition to directing, Westmoreland wrote the script with Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
Bleecker Street is planning a September 21 release.
Watch the trailer above.
www.thewrap.com | 7/11/18
Radu Jude’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” won the Grand Prix Crystal Globe, the top jury prize at the 2018 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
The international competition winner tells of an artist who reenacts a real-life ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Romanian army in 1941, this time as an artistic installation.
The movie is a coproduction of six countries, led by Romania. In 2015, Jude won Berlin’s Silver Bear for best director for his film “Aferim!”
The festival at Karlovy Vary, nestled in a spa town outside Prague, Czech Republic, also awarded a special jury prize to Ana Katz’s “Sueño Florianópolis,” and awarded a best director prize to Olmo Omerzu for “Winter Flies.” Mercedes Morán (“Sueño Florianópolis”) and Moshe Folkenflik (“Redemption”) won best actress and best actor, respectively.
Vitaly Mansky’s “Putin’s Witnesses,” which featured a trove of unaired, potentially damning footage from the early days of the Russian president’s rule, took best documentary. The jury also gave special mention to Ivan I. Tverdovskiy’s “Jumpman,” about a peculiar orphan who can’t feel physical pain until his estranged mother resurfaces.
Actor and director Tim Robbins joined a long line of American stars like Robert De Niro and Casey Affleck in receiving a special prize for his contributions to world cinema, TheWrap previously reported.
“Good Time” star Robert Pattinson was also handed this year’ President’s Award.
Read the complete list of winners:
GRAND PRIX – CRYSTAL GLOBE (25 000 USD)
“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians”
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (15 000 USD)
BEST DIRECTOR AWARD
Olmo Omerzu for the film “Winter Flies”
BEST ACTRESS AWARD
Mercedes Morán for her role in the film “Sueño Florianópolis”
BEST ACTOR AWARD
Moshe Folkenflik for his role in the film “Redemption”
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“History of Love”
EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION
EAST OF THE WEST GRAND PRIX (15 000 USD)
EAST OF THE WEST SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (10 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY FILMS – COMPETITION
DOCUMENTARY FILMS JURY
GRAND PRIX FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM (5 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
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www.thewrap.com | 7/7/18
[RFI] French President Emmanuel Macron received a rock-star welcome at Nigeria's New Afrika Shrine nightclub in Lagos on Tuesday. The venue, founded by Afrobeat star Fela Kuti, provided him the backdrop to launch his new African Cultural Season, which he hopes will change France's perception of African culture.
allafrica.com | 7/4/18
“Black Panther” and its star Chadwick Boseman won Best Movie and Best Actor at the 2018 BET Awards Sunday night, and Tiffany Haddish emerged as Best Actress for her breakout roles in multiple films, including “Girls Trip.”
Kendrick Lamar emerged as a big winner on the music front, winning Best Male Hip-Hop Artist and Best Album for “DAMN.”
Jamie Foxx hosted the ceremony at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater, with Anita Baker earning a lifetime achievement award, and Nicki Minaj (above) delivering a memorable musical performance.
Here’s the complete list of winners.
Best Female R&B / Pop Artist Award
Best Male R&B / Pop Artist Award
Best Group Award
Best Male Hip Hop Artist Award
Best Female Hip Hop Artist Award
Video of the Year Award
Video Director of the Year Award
Best New Artist Award
Best Collaboration Award
Best Actress Award
Best Actor Award
Young Stars Award
Best Movie Award
Sportswoman of the Year Award
Sportsman of the Year Award
Album of the Year Award
BET Her Award
Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
The Best International Act Award
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 6/25/18
Queer Eye‘s Fab Five have become fast friends with a few celebrities, including Gigi Hadid, Justin Theroux and Emma Stone, as well as newly engaged couple Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande.
“Couldn’t be happier for them,” Tan France told PEOPLE Now about the pair’s engagement after just a few weeks of dating.
“Super happy,” Antoni Porowski added as Jonathan Van Ness said, “And what’s crazy, what’s not crazy, everything’s crazy these days.”
When asked if any of the Fab Five could see themselves getting engaged as quickly as Davidson and Grande, both 24, did, Tan revealed his relationship history with husband Rob.
“I did, and I’ve been together with my husband for 10 years. We decided we would get married after five dates, and we’ve been together for 10 years. So it could work, you guys!” the fashion expert said.
“If it was right, I think I could,” grooming guru Van Ness shared.
“Cultural norms tell us that we have to wait a certain amount of time, but loves has no time limit, if you know now, go for it,” connoisseur of culture Karamo Brown advised.
The Saturday Night Live star finally confirmed he is engaged to Grande during Wednesday’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, telling the late-night host, “I feel like I won a contest, so sick. It’s f—ing lit, Jimmy. It’s so lit.”
RELATED: Queer Eye‘s Season 2 Features First Female and Transgender Subjects — and a Proposal!
While neither Davidson nor Grande has yet to reveal any wedding plans, Tan did share that the groom-to-be has requested his assistance.
“He has asked if I would give him a hand, and I will happily give him a hand,” the Netflix star said. “He’s a friend. We love him very much. He’s one of the best people I’ve met in a long time.”
PEOPLE confirmed Davidson and Grande’s whirlwind engagement on June 11, just weeks after they began dating in May. The comedian proposed with a dazzling 3-carat engagement ring from Manhattan-based jeweler Greg Yuna, whom he paid a jaw-dropping $93,000 in May.
“It’s a recent engagement. They’re just two people who found love quickly and make each other happy all the time. They both started talking about it this past weekend. It’s nothing they’ve been hiding,” a source close to the couple previously said.
Season 2 of Queer Eye is streaming now.
people.com | 6/21/18
Beyoncé didn’t need to go to the Met Gala this year — she and JAY-Z own the Louvre!
Along with a new nine-track album Everything Is Love, the couple dropped a new video this weekend. From its opening on a faux gargoyle to the slow reveal of Bey and Jay in front of the Mona Lisa, the Carter’s “Apes—” visuals are a tour de force.
The Ricky Saiz-directed video is also a tour de Louvre, showing off some of the museum’s beautiful locations and priceless works. Shot in two consecutive nights during their time in Paris for tour rehearsals in May, it’s a work of art involving several dozen masterpieces.
Here’s a culture lover’s guide to all of the fine art references in the video.
After a few teasing intro shots, including the gargoyle dancer in the Cour Napoleon and a brief glimpse of Delacroix’s Apollo Slays Python, music’s most famous couple appear in a slow tracking reveal in front of the world’s most enigmatic smile.
The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa (or La Joconde) was painted by Leonardo Di Vinci in the early 14th century. It’s not known precisely when the Louvre’s example was painted, but the museum’s copy is the best known of several versions. Interestingly, the model for the iconic image may have actually been a man posing! The hallmark of the museum, the painting went missing in 1911 for two years after it was stolen by an employee.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Sphinx
The video features a series of shots showing the couple seated in front of the museum’s celebrated Grande Galerie. The Winged Victory of Samothrace statue sits midway in its main stairwell, as does and the Sphinx (circa 2000 BC) — whose crypt guards the museum’s collection of Egyptology.
The Coronation of Napoleon and the work of Jacques-Louis David
Bey and Jay clearly have a thing for French neo-classicists. Their dancers work out in front of Jacques-Louis David’s epic Coronation of Napoleon (painted 1806-1807) and another painting by the master, The Intervention of the Sabine Women, also makes an appearance.
David’s celebrated portrait of Madame Récamier, a banker’s wife commissioned in 1800 can be seen (at 2:15) as well.
Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appraised by Dante and Virgil
At 2:37, the Louvre’s version of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appraised by Dante and Virgil, created by Dutch romantic painter Ary Scheffer, is seen in striking detail. The example is one of five known versions known to exist in the world — if you can’t make Paris, London or Hamburg, you can appreciate it in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Raft of the Medusa
JAY-Z steps briefly in front of Théodore Géricault’s extraordinary Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) a painting based on the true events of a shipwreck involving sharks and cannibalism. By “sampling” earlier works of John Singleton Copley and Francisco Goya, Géricault — who researched the work by interviewing survivors — created one of the earliest known “social media” events, showing the work in Paris and London while newspaper accounts of the tragedy were fresh in the public mind. The artist’s earlier 1812 painting The Charging Officer turns up at 3:23.
The Venus de Milo
Moving outside for courtyard shots in front of architect I.M. Pei’s brilliant pyramid structure, which has been the museum’s main entrance since 1989, we’re treated to the couple before the Venus de Milo. Uncovered by a farmer on the Greek island of Milos in 1820 and scurried back to France by a marine officer, she is rather modestly posed on a low pedestal down a stairwell.
Portrait d’une Femme Noire
Following a flash of Paolo Veronese’s Wedding at Cana, the clip comes to its most arresting image and perhaps, most significant reference: Portrait d’une Femme Noire (Portrait of a Black Woman). First shown at the Salon of 1800, it’s a striking work, quietly beautiful and hypnotic. It showcases extreme simplicity by an acknowledged master of the period — Marie-Guillemine Benoist, a woman.
people.com | 6/21/18
‘The Looming Tower’ Star Tahar Rahim on Playing a Muslim FBI Agent Instead of a Terrorist (as Usual)
A version of this story about Tahar Rahim first appeared in the Miniseries/Movies issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
When Tahar Rahim first met Ali Soufan, the real-life former FBI agent he plays in Hulu’s gripping limited series “The Looming Tower,” Soufan hit him with a pointed parting shot.
“He said, ‘And if you don’t accept this role, you will never again have the right to complain that you only get offers to play terrorists,'” Rahim said, laughing.
In fact, Rahim had complained about exactly that in the past. Although the French actor with Algerian ancestry had made a name for himself in such notable European films as Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet” and Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past,” he had spent fruitless years trying to land acceptable English-language projects.
“I always like to work with foreign directors, and I don’t want to be an actor of just one country,” he said. “My vision of cinema is that we can do this all over the world. And as long as you can speak another language, you should try.
“So I came to America and spent two years trying to get work. Maybe 50 percent of the parts I was offered were terrorists, and the others were stereotypical people. So I said to myself, ‘I’m done with this — maybe I’ll go to Asia and see if I can make movies there.'”
But then he landed the part of Judas Iscariot in Garth Davis’ “Mary Magdalene,” followed by the role in “The Looming Tower” as one of the few FBI agents who spoke Arabic in the years leading up to the 9/11 attack.
The limited series, executive produced by Dan Futterman and Alex Gibney, is full of powerhouse acting performances — Jeff Daniels, Bill Camp, Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg are among the stars — but Rahim is in many ways its heart as a Muslim agent who is sick at the way his religion has been perverted.
He’s one of the few men who might have been able to prevent 9/11 if the government around him hadn’t been so inept.
With only a third of the miniseries’ scripts finished when he was offered the part, Rahim wouldn’t accept the role until he’d had a chance to speak to Soufan and hear what happened from the man who lived it. “After he told me the rest of his story, I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to do this,'” he said.
His preparation, he added, was simple. “When I met Ali, I was full of questions, like a good student who did his homework,” he said. “But when I started to talk to him, I felt stupid asking questions. I understood that the right thing to do was to just talk to the guy, to try to know him. What is his spirit, his soul? That’s more important than what he has for breakfast or what kind of soda he drinks. I wanted to spend my energy in knowing him rather than imitating him.”
In the aftermath of “The Looming Tower,” Rahim said he feels a change in his opportunities in the U.S. film industry. “”I started acting in 2008 and didn’t work in America until 2017, but I think it’s changing,” he said. “I played Judas, and then Ali Soufan, and I just finished a movie with Lone Scherfig where I play someone named Mark who runs a restaurant.
“I don’t want to stop working in France or Europe, but you have more cinema history in America. You’ve got types of movies and characters that we don’t have. I want to play a cowboy one day, I want to be in a Western. And if I want to be in a Western, I have to be in America.”
Read more of TheWrap’s Miniseries/Movies Emmy issue here.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 6/19/18
The culture of France and of the French people has been shaped by geography, by profound historical events, and by foreign and internal forces and groups. France, and in particular Paris, has played an important role as a center of high culture and of decorative arts since the seventeenth century, first in Europe, and from the nineteenth century on, world wide. From the late nineteenth century, France has also played an important role in cinema, fashion and cuisine. The importance of French culture has waxed and waned over the centuries, depending on its economic, political and military importance. French culture today is marked both by great regional and socioeconomic differences and by strong unifying tendencies.